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As a result, Democrats will likely hold a 3-2 majority at the commission by the end of the week and a 4-1 majority by mid-year, thereby allowing Biden’s administration to push policies forward with an energy regulator in full alignment.
Experts expect the new-look FERC, as well as a restrengthened U.S. Environmental Protection Agency led by North Carolina Democrat Michael Regan, will make it more difficult for oil and gas pipeline companies to build new inter-state projects, because regulators will likely require projects to account for both upstream and downstream carbon emissions, just as the Canada Energy Regulator does now.
“The policies of green-lighting linear infrastructure are going to change,” said Kevin Book, managing partner at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based energy research and consulting firm.
Book said the new administration intends to move “from molecules to electrons,” meaning new policies and regulations will encourage electrification and clean power, and rely less on fossil fuels. “We have a very fossil-intensive grid,” he said.
In addition, Book said, Granholm is a clear indication that Biden intends to push to transition automobiles away from internal combustion engines in the near future.
Granholm’s past experience as Michigan’s governor means she will be tapped to work with American automakers as the federal government pushes for more electric vehicles while likely ratcheting up standards for vehicle emissions.
Book believes this will be a key focus for Biden, since the incoming president has picked two cabinet members from regions with large automotive manufacturing sectors in Granholm from Michigan and Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.
“One would have been significant, but two is unmistakable,” he said. “These are Biden’s ambassador’s to car country.”
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